This contest is now over. Thank you to everyone who participated! The winner is Athena. Congratulations, Athena!
by Deborah Raney
Forever After is the second book in Deborah Raney’s Hanover Falls Novels series from Howard/Simon & Schuster. I had the pleasure of endorsing the first novel in the series, Almost Forever; it won the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence and a HOLT Medallion Award of Merit.
In this second book, Forever After, Lucas Vermontez was a proud firefighter like his father. Now, not only has he lost his father and his best friend, Zach, in the fire at the Grove Street Homeless Shelter, but the devoted rookie can no longer do the work he loves after being crippled in the tragic event. When friendship with his buddy’s beautiful widow turns into more, he wonders what he could possibly offer Jenna. Jenna Morgan is trying to grieve her husband’s death like a proper widow, but the truth is, she never really loved Zach. His death feels more like a relief to her. But that relief is short-lived when she loses her home and the financial support of her in-laws. Now the secrets of her past threaten to destroy her future.
I met Deb in 2002, and she already had accolades galore (as seen below in her bio), but she took the time to encourage me as I trembled in my shoes at the very thought of letting others read what I’d written.
One thing I learned early on is that most books are connected to the author’s heart in some special way. I asked Deb if she’d care to share a little something personal about her journey of writing Forever After, and this is the note she sent me:
As I began work on my twentieth novel, it shouldn’t have surprised me when my life started looking an awful lot like the lives of my characters. And yet it seems to catch me by surprise every time.
Although we haven’t had to give up our home, between having a daughter in college and a husband laid off from his job, we experienced a year somewhat like my character Jenna Morgan was going through. As we’ve struggled to recover through the months since, wondering what God has in mind for the next chapter of our lives, we’ve learned a lot about what really matters––about the difference between having material wealth and being rich in friends and family, love and joy. We’ve decided we’d choose the latter any day. (But I won’t kid you, it’s not been easy letting go of the former!)
The day he got the news of his layoff, my husband took me in his arms and said, “God has taken care of us for thirty-five years. There’s no reason to think He’s going to stop now.” Now, almost two and a half years later, we can testify to the truth of that statement. God has taught us so much through the pain and fear (okay, terror) and uncertainty of those days. I’m a different––I hope, better––person for the trials He’s put in our lives. And as difficult as it’s been, I wouldn’t go back for all the wealth in the world.
My prayer is always for just enough joy to keep us from discouragement and just enough difficulty to keep us close to Him.
Thank you so much for sharing some of your journey with us, Deb!
DEBORAH RANEY’s first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title and launched her writing career after 20 happy years as a stay-at-home mom. Her books have won numerous awards including the RITA, National Readers Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, the Carol Award, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. Deb also serves on the Advisory Board of the 2500-member American Christian Fiction Writers. Her 20th novel released this month from Howard/Simon & Schuster. She and her husband, Ken Raney, enjoy tending wildflowers and native grasses in the Kansas prairie garden in their large back yard. They also love traveling together to conferences, and to visit four children and three little grandsons who all live much too far away.
Almost Forever is the first book in the Hanover Falls series.
It won the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence AND a HOLT Medallion Award of Merit.
Before it went to print, I read it and wrote: “…beautifully written and enthralling…
made my heart sing, dance, cry, and turn more than a few flips!”
One person has a chance to win BOTH books, one of which will be signed by Deborah. Just leave a comment below by clicking on “Post a Comment.” If you’re reading this blog from anywhere other than my website, please go to https://www.cindywoodsmall.com to leave a comment.
Only those who leave a comment on my website will be entered. There are a lot of “not fun” reasons why I need to do it that way, and I apologize for any inconvenience.